Wednesday, June 04, 2008

“that was pathetic!”

Jeffrey Toobin had the line of the night—and the line that best summed it up, really—as far as assessments of McSame’s Tuesday evening brand re-launch.

In case you missed it, presumptive Republican nominee John McCain tried to steal the Democrats’ thunder by scheduling a “very important” address to the nation around 8:30 PM EDT—and it was pathetic, indeed.

First there was the opening line/lie: “Greetings form the great city of New Orleans.” Yes, New Orleans is (or at least was) a great city. . . but John McCain wasn’t there. McCain was in Kenner, LA. Now, Kenner might be convenient to the New Orleans airport, but it is a good 20 – 30 minute drive outside of New Orleans proper.

I’m thinkin’ that doesn’t really bode well for the McCain response to the next levee disaster.

Then there was the weirdly stiff crowd—which could be counted in the dozens (contrast that with the 17,500 that turned out to see Obama in Minnesota). They had all the enthusiasm of a live studio audience for a third-tier sitcom that hadn’t been loosened up by the warm-up comic. . . or even a production assistant.

Of course, McStiff, himself, didn’t help. Keeping to his now predictable and unbearable sing-song teleprompter recitation, as always, sincerity free (“In my own words, I saw results after just one week.”), but now peppered with weird, sinister, and completely inorganic laughs. As a friend remarked, it was like a Mike Myers impression of an evil pol. Just plain creepy.

But, not to worry, McCain didn’t need words. . . or a warm smile. . . or eyes with life in them. . . for he had the Awesome! New! Green! Backdrop! The candidate used tough-guy black through most of the primaries, but now that his background is the same color as a green-screen, McCain not only signals his completely superficial nod toward being an environmentalist, he gives himself the option of digitally replacing what’s behind him with scenes of, I don’t know, cheering supporters, maybe?

Oh, and I can’t let pass the fulsome praise McPander had for “his friend,” Hillary Clinton. Did you know that it was the “pundits and party elders” that had anointed Obama the victor of the Democratic race? Take that, you voters!

Of course, the best part of this national nightmare was when it was declared over—by the networks. Imagine the quality of planning that went into a speech that dragged on past the hour at which the polls closed in South Dakota—and by “quality of planning,” I mean “poor quality.” Honestly, even I—a far more even-tempered guy than the oft ready to blow McCain—would freak if my handlers didn’t schedule my speech to wrap up before I was embarrassed by a network interruption.

Wake up, Johnny Mac! Today is the first day of the rest of your campaign! You only get so many chances to flip-flop on your image and beliefs!

Of course, it was, in one way, a perfect speech. For as a badly run, superficial, out of touch, disingenuous, marginal, and deeply nasty event, it served as a perfect thumbnail of what a McCain presidency would be like. . . starting (to borrow a phrase) on day one.

(cross-posted on The Seminal)

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